Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Is the Goal the Blog or the Blog the Goal?

This is a real question. It follows on from a conversation of sorts that we're having in the Bloggers on Blogging section over at BlogHer's Forum. And it is added to by cce's post today in which she bemoaned the amount of time it takes to do her blog.
And this blogging thing is becoming a bit of a drain too because I’m the type of person who goes at things full-bore. I wake and read 25 blogs so that I can make comments and attract blog traffic and then I write the next day’s post and then I check my traffic report several hundred times during the day and find that I’ve fallen off the radar and must read more blogs and leave wittier comments to lure new audiences and this leaves little time for anything else including real conversations with people I actually know, like my children.
My response to her was: how about half-bore? But then I thought, "smart alecky, Jane-- perhaps the essence of her plaint is in the clause "so that I can make comments and attract blog traffic...." That sounds to me as if she is looking to professionalize her blog. And then I thought, what does that mean?

On the BlogHer thread, Phat Mommy said something similar.
If your goal is to become a "successful blogger," I think you do need to have a focus. Bloggers that wander all over the place can certainly attract fans, but probably will not attract as much traffic on a consistent basis as a blogger who is dedicated to one specific topic.
I'm not so sure that statement, which is the conventional wisdom, is true. In fact, I could argue it mightily with cites and footnotes, but that perhaps is more a function of my need for this bit of conventional wisdom not to be true. Because there's no way in the world that I could have a single focus in my blog, as the masthead for ByJane makes clear.

However, I too want to be a successful blogger. Yes, of course I do, with lots of fans and, as yesterday's post detailed, some accolades as well. But what do I mean by successful blogger?

I dunno.

What does it mean to professionalize your blog?

I dunno.

Well, I know if you're a food writer or a travel expert or someone who blogs about their business. But if you're blogging about your life, your kids, your hopes, your fears, your everyday happenings and what gets you through the night--then how do you answer the questions?

I dunno. Do you?


  1. I think most people start out blogging just to have an outlet and something to do. Then they become obsessed with traffic. Or at least other people's traffic. And then they begin blogging only to attract other people to their blog and forget about why they started it in the first place.

    Or maybe that was just me. ;-)

    The exception would be the political, sports, celebrity etc. bloggers who are clearly trying to creat a commercial blog.

    My traffic has dropped about 10% or so. There doesn't seem like there is anything I can do to make it grow again. Oh well. I don't get paid to do it and I'm NOT GOING to get paid to do it.

    I've never been to "blogher" so I'm not sure what goes on over there.

    A lot of people get frustrated by the fact that to get comments you have to comment on other people's blogs. It doesn't bother me, cause most other blogs are better than mine and I enjoy reading them. But, some people believe that they are good enough writers that they should have lots of traffic and comments based solely on their writing. While they might be really good that just isn't the way it works.

    Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah, I don't really have one.

    Was this comment long enough?

  2. i can't believe i wrote a long and, if i do say so myself, funny response to jay...but it's disappeared!!!!

  3. Still don't know the answers to all this, By Jane. But I do see the outlet thing as a good enough reason to blog as long as the need for an outlet doesn't require it's own outlet. If blogging becomes a job that you're not getting paid for, is it worth it?. And when your a writer, a fiction writer at that, blogging can run interference. Consuming all the free time you once had to wax poetic. And for what? I like an audience as much as the next person but I'm not sure what the goal is, ya know?

  4. Ummm... entertain, entertain, entertain. Change it up and make people want to come to your blog?

    Alright, I'm talking out of my ass here. I have no idea.

  5. Jay: your comment was definitely long enough, not to mention pithy. And you should check out BlogHer.

    cce: yeah, you isolated the confusion I feel. People ask me--always brightly--"so, are you writing these days?" And when I answer "yes, my blog", their chirpy little smiles fade. I'm schizophrenic at times about what I'm doing with my blog: practicing my writing, putting together ideas for articles/books, trying out new things. But then I get lured by the audience thing...and get sucked in. I think I've gotta get a Zen attitude about this....

    Queen: Is the entertaining the goal or getting the audience????

  6. Jane. Hola. Natalie here. By way of QofD. Nicetameetcha.
    Well, hell, I dunno, either.
    I will say that I like your all-over-the-place-style because... as Ms. QofD says, "entertain, entertain, entertain" and I was and I am so therefore I comment.
    Consider this your warning: I am a new fan.
    No, I do not have a professional blog and I usually crack myself up, which, for the most part, is enough for me BUT when I get entertaining comments, well then, that's just the cat's meow, ain't it?
    (If you notice my tendency to over-comma myself, you are not alone. There's a 12 stepper group forming now. Everything, including both good and bad grammar, is addictive. Well, in my world anywaydotdotdot)


So--whaddaya think?